COVID-19 resources for managers and leaders

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Research briefing one: child protection, social distancing and risks from COVID-19

University of Birmingham

This briefing shares some emerging findings about the challenges of achieving social distancing during child protection work, especially on home visits, and how children and families and social workers can be kept safe from COVID-19. The data shows that social workers, family support workers and their managers have worked creatively in addressing the complex practical and moral dilemmas they have faced in implementing social distancing guidance and in aspiring to best practice in helping children and families. The briefing focuses in particular on the implication of going into homes, the impossibility of social distancing, and virtual home visits; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use and dilemmas; and the professional values that guide social workers’ decisions about whether or not to conduct in person visits, including selflessness, public accountability and leadership. On the basis of the very early findings from this research, the briefing advises that social work staff should be told that they do not have to take any personal risks they do not feel comfortable with; staff doing visits inside family homes need to be provided with full PPE while other creative ways of seeing children, like in gardens, on walks, and on virtual visits, need to continue; social work leaders and managers at all levels need to address organisational anxieties by constantly being clear with frontline staff that how their practice and record keeping is evaluated will take full account of the constraints placed on their work by COVID-19 and social distancing.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

Guidance for housing providers during COVID-19

Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance

Guidance for housing providers on how they can offer safe responses to their tenants and service users where it is known they are living with domestic abuse or where new concerns arise. Housing providers are uniquely placed to access people in their homes and their response to domestic abuse is therefore even more important during the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown. The guidance covers: spotting the signs; availability of specialist domestic abuse support (national and local services and Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARACs)); raising awareness with all tenants; offering a helpful response to survivors of domestic abuse; advice for residents who are worried about a neighbour, friend or relatives; taking action against perpetrators; supporting staff and colleagues; pets; and other national domestic abuse support services.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on violence against women and girls

VAWG Helpdesk

A review of the evidence on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – and similar epidemics – might impact on violence against women and girls (VAWG). Evidence on the impact of the outbreak is still at a very early stage and not yet well documented, given that it begun in January 2020. However, some of the early indications are that there are several areas where women and girls are likely to be at increased risk of violence. These include: increased risk of domestic violence; increased risk of workplace violence in the health sector; increased risk of racial and sexual harassment (both online and offline); increased risk of abuse and exploitation for vulnerable women workers; increased risk of VAWG in emergency settings; and increased risk of sexual exploitation and violence by state officials and armed guards. Experience from past epidemics suggests the importance of a ‘twin track’ approach, combining support to organisations working directly with survivors and integrating VAWG into sectoral responses.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

Covid-19 and early intervention: understanding the impact, preparing for recovery

The Early Intervention Foundation

This report explores the impact of COVID-19 on early help – the range of services that would ordinarily be supporting vulnerable children and families below the threshold for statutory local authority support, including targeted support provided by universal services. It considers the response of local services across England to the immediate challenges presented by COVID-19, and the challenges on the horizon. This work was undertaken by EIF and Action for Children between March and May 2020 and is based on 28 semi-structured qualitative interviews with heads of early help services, lead practitioners, and head teachers. Areas of focus include: risk assessment and referral in a virtual environment; virtual delivery of services; maintaining essential face-to-face delivery; closure of school and early years provision; and longer-term issues. The findings indicate that the pandemic has necessitated rapid adaptation of the way that services support vulnerable children and families, characterised by an almost wholesale transition to virtual or online contact while retaining some element of face-to-face provision when needed. There is a unique opportunity to improve the evidence base on virtual delivery of early intervention for children and families through seizing the opportunity for testing and evaluation. Conversely, the professionals recognise that there is a risk that some children and families who became vulnerable or became more vulnerable during the lockdown period could be missed without home visits. The research also identified a clear sense of apprehension among professionals about the longer-term impact of the pandemic and particularly the lockdown period on vulnerable children and families, and about the ability of services to cope with the demand that this will create.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

ADASS budget survey 2020

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

This report presents the finding of an annual survey of the director of adult social services, focusing on budgets for adult social care in councils and, additionally, on the impact of COVID-19 on adult social care and local authorities’ response to it. From the analysis of the survey responses the following key messages emerge: without significant financial intervention from the Government, the lives of people who use social care and their family carers will be seriously impacted in terms of their lives and wellbeing; the actual costs to local authorities and adult social care providers of the pandemic will far outstrip the Emergency Funding made available by the Government to-date; the risk of already fragile care markets failing has significantly heightened as a result of the impacts of COVID-19; only 4 per cent of respondents are fully confident that their budget will be sufficient to meet their statutory duties this year, down from 35 per cent in 2019/20; a fundamental shift in resources is required from Government as part of a long-term funding settlement for adult social care and to ensure the workforce is adequately rewarded for their commitment and highly skilled and essential work. The report calls for a two-year ringfenced funding settlement for adult social care to cover the additional costs of COVID-19 and to allow reform to be agreed, planned and implemented; a new employment deal with social care staff; reform of the care provider market to ensure sustainability, economic growth and quality of care; and a consultation programme with extensive public engagement over the next two years to build the care and support that people want for the short and long term.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

Preventing the disadvantage gap from increasing during and after the Covid-19 pandemic

Education Policy Institute

This policy paper contains an assessment of the likely impact of COVID-19 on the outcomes of children and young people, particularly the most disadvantaged. The research finds that disadvantaged pupils are over 18 months behind their more affluent peers in attainment by age 16. In recent years, this gap has stopped closing and, even before the pandemic, there was a real risk that the gap would start to widen. The impact of the pandemic is expected to increase that risk. Research on attainment of children who have missed significant periods of schooling due to authorised absences suggest a large overall impact on attainment in addition to widening of the disadvantage gap that is expected based on studies of summer learning loss. In order to minimise the impact of COVID-19, particularly for the most vulnerable pupils, the paper makes a series of recommendations for government in relation to the role of wider services in supporting vulnerable children and young people; the effect of the pandemic in the early years; the cancellation of formal exams in summer 2020; supporting the most vulnerable groups; supporting young people in post-16, vocational and higher education; and improving the resilience of the sector in case of any future national emergency.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

The geography of the COVID-19 crisis in England

Institute of Fiscal Studies

This report analyses how the different dimensions of the COVID-19 crisis vary around England. It documents the geography of the COVID-19 crisis along three dimensions: health, jobs and families. It explores which local authorities have residents who are more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 symptoms, because of their age or pre-existing conditions; which LAs have a greater share of workers in shut-down sectors such as retail or hospitality; and which LAs have a greater share of children either eligible for free school meals or receiving children’s social services, who might be at particular educational or social risk from the crisis. It shows how these dimensions of vulnerability in health, jobs and families relate to each other. The report argues that the issue of interrelated vulnerabilities should remain at the forefront of policymaking. Government’s approach to easing the lockdown needs to protect public health while enabling economic activity and minimising the real social costs of isolation. The report suggests that the balance between these different goals might look very different around the country.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

Guidance for Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programmes: Covid-19 challenges

Respect

This guidance paper helps organisations working with perpetrators and victims of domestic abuse overcome the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. All organisations face problems with service delivery, continuity of staffing and the capacity to support and work with clients. The guide explores how to continue to deliver programmes and support safely; service delivery via phone and video-calling; strategies for calming, de-escalating and containing abusive behaviour; check-ins and case management; supporting delivery practitioners professionally and emotionally; and dealing with new clients.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

Accommodation for perpetrators of domestic abuse: emerging issues and responses due to COVID-19

Drive Project

Isolation and social distancing during the COVID-19 lockdown have led and are likely to continue to lead to an increase in domestic abuse, violence and coercive control at all levels of risk. This paper argues that, where it would be in the best interests of the victim and better ensure their safety and wellbeing, adequate housing provision is urgently needed for perpetrators of domestic violence. The lack of availability of such accommodation is limiting options available to victims and police in their endeavour to keep victims safe.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

Understanding the impact of COVID-19 responses on citizens

Social Care Institute for Excellence

A guide that discusses the impact of COVID-19 and responses on people who use or interact with social care services.

Last updated on hub: 29 June 2020